Goodcookbecky's Blog

Letting the juices of life (or food) drip from my chin!


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Homemade Brownies

I have been laying in my bed recovering from a back injury that I gave myself falling down the stairs in my home.  As a stay at home mom, I would call that a work related injury but it does not work that way!  No workman’s comp for me!

Well, here I was looking at my iPhone to find signs of life beyond the walls of the bedroom I was recovering in.  I found signs of life on facebook and twitter.  I have been following other cooks and foodies on twitter and frankly by now I was downright hungry.  The craving:  brownies!  Did I have a simple mix that I could just have my kids whip up? NO, of course not!  But that’s okay. Child labor (when brownies are involved) make willing hands to help.

I dug out a recipe book that was published by Family Fun Magazine. The Family Fun Cookbook and made their Chocolate-Lover’s Brownies (pg 194).

Here is my adaptation:

Chocolate Lover’s Brownies

Serves 20 small squares

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 8 oz semisweet chocolate
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups nuts (I used one cup pecans and one cup M&Ms)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Spray a 9x13x2 inch baking pan with pam or a cooking spray
  3. In the microwave, melt the butter and chocolate for about 3 minutes or until the mixture is completely melted.  I microwave f or one minute, stir and then heat in 30 second increments until it is melted, stirring after each time to combine.  Allow to cool for about 10 minutes after it is combined and melted.
  4. In a bowl, using a mixer on medium high speed combine the eggs and sugar and beat for 3 minutes until the egg mixture is pretty light in color.  After the chocolate mixture has cooled add it to your egg and sugar mixture and combine.
  5. Add flour and salt to the mixture and slowly combine.
  6. Last minute: throw in your nuts and M&Ms if desired and just stir to combine.
  7. Pour into the prepared baking dish and bake for 28-30 minutes.

Allow to cool completely (if they make it that long).  Can be stored in freezer if desired.

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Injured, but I promise to return!

Last Wednesday I took a tumble down the bottom 4 stairs landing flat on my back and then sliding down the rest.  After x-rays I had no fracture to be found, but it put me out of commission for almost a week.  Visits to the chiropractor are already promising. 🙂  I promise my posts will return soon.  Taking it easy for a while here though.

Thank you for following my blog.  Please use the handrail!

Becky


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Shrimp Scampi with Angel Hair Pasta

IMG_6953On the theme of what is in my pantry/fridge/freezer that I can make this weekend? I made Shrimp Scampi.  I used Ina Garten’s recipe in her Family Style cookbook.  I like eating Angel Hair pasta rather than linguine and made a few changes to accommodate what I did have or did not have.

Here is my adapted recipe:

Shrimp Scampi with Angel Hair Pasta

Serves 6

  • Vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb angel hair (Ina’s recipe called for 1 1/2 lbs of linguine)
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp minced garlic (9 cloves) I only had the garlic in a jar and used 3 heaping tsp.
  • 2 lbs large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (I used the dry and only 1 Tbsp because I didn’t have fresh on hand)
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used some from the bottle because I did not have 4 lemons)
  • 1/2 lemon sliced in half rounds
  • 1/4 tsp dry pepper flakes

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add a little vegetable oil.  Then add pasta and cook according to package directions.  Drain and toss with olive oil so the pasta does not start to stick.
  2. While the water is coming to a boil, heat a heavy bottomed skillet (I used my cast iron skillet that is 14 inches), melt the butter and 5 Tbsp of oil over medium-high heat.  Add the chopped garlic and cook for about a minute, being careful not to burn it.  Add the shrimp and stir and flip them as they cook until they are no longer pink, but do not overcook them or they will become rubbery.  Season with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and add parsley, lemon zest and juice, and red pepper flakes.  Toss to combine.
  3. Serve over pasta with a side salad or fresh green beans.

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Aunt Nancy’s Chicken Bites

These wonderful little Parmesan and cracker crumb coated bites of chicken never last long around my house!  My husband says they are much better than anything McDonald’s serves up (yeah, of course they are made from scratch and not “pre-chewed” patties of chicken).  I was cleaning out my pantry and fridge today to make lunch.  I served them with couscous.

I got this recipe from one of my aunts.  Thank you Aunt Nancy!  I get my kids involved in the process.  Crushing the cracker crumbs in a bag and adding seasonings and cheese…

Aunt Nancy’s Chicken Bites

Serves 6-8

  • 6 large chicken breast halves, cut into one inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups Ritz Crackers, crushed with a rolling pin
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3/4 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

Instructions:

  1. Heat oven to 400 F
  2. Cover two baking sheets with foil. Cut chicken into 1 inch pieces.
  3. Mix cracker crumbs with cheese, seasoned salt, thyme, basil and pepper. (You can just add them to the bag you used to crush the cracker crumbs)
  4. Dip chicken pieces into melted butter and add a few pieces at a time to the bag of crackers.  Close the zip lock and have a child shake the bag to coat the chicken.
  5. Place the chicken pieces about 1/2 inch apart from each other on the baking sheets.  Repeat process until all chicken pieces are coated and on the baking sheets.
  6. Bake uncovered until golden brown 20-25 minutes.  Yields about 9 dozen pieces.

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Cheesy Sausage Dip

This is one of my favorite dips.  I found the recipe in a Schwan’s Catalog.  Although, I don’t use Schwan’s products in this, it turns out great!  This dip is particularly good with slices of a fresh crusty baguette.

Cheesy Sausage Dip-adapted from Schwan’s

Serves 10 appetizer portions

Ingredients:

  • 1 pckg. Sweet Italian Sausage
  • 4 oz can green chilies, chopped, drained
  • 1 cup chopped red peppers (or the roasted ones from a jar are also terrific in this)
  • 8 oz softened cream cheese
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tsp. Creole Seasoning (Konriko Brand is great- see under Products Category)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions or chives
  • To DIP:  1-2 loaves of french baguette or tortilla chips

Directions: Preheat oven to 400F.  Saute and crumble the Italian Sausage until cooked and no longer pink.  Add chilies and bell peppers, cooking 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients, except green onions (and bread of course).  Bake 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle with green onions or chives and serve with sliced bread or tortilla chips.

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Giant California Strawberries

One of the benefits of living in Southern California is the moderate climate and great fruits and vegetables, in particular avocados, artichokes and my personal favorite (and that of my kids): Giant sweet strawberries!

My kids favorite use of them is Chocolate Covered Strawberries.  My favorite is freezer jam.

A great recipe for freezer jam is on the Kraft website, using SURE JELL Fruit Pectin

Other classic uses of course is:  Strawberry Shortcake.

I love to pair them with Spinach Salads with a Poppy Seed Dressing as well.


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Happy 11th Birthday

Debra turns 11

My daughter, Debra turned 11 today.  I am making her favorite soup: Avgolemono Soup (already posted on this blog) and I made a cake (from a cake mix) and decorated it myself.  I am not the best baker — I like to stick to cooking, but she requested it, so I made her one.  I think she was pretty happy with the result.  One of Debra’s things to do is to walk into a room and say “Hi” even though she saw you 5 minutes ago (and probably said “Hi” then too).  It has become a joke in our family, so I wrote “Hi” on her cake as well to personalize it.

So Happy Birthday Debra!  Enjoy your special day!

I had a special day too!  I had my first photo published on TasteSpotting. I had submitted a picture that had been declined by Foodgawker.  I was thrilled to have it accepted. 🙂


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More “Hello Cupcake Fun”

As I mentioned before the “Hello Cupcake” book is a delight to have around to  stimulate the creative brain cells in the baking department.  Their “bunny motif of rabbits disappearing into their burrows and all you can see is the bottom of their feet and bunny tail is one such.  My children had a lot of fun helping make this one.

Page 148-150 has the instructions.  I don’t want to post the exact directions here.  I will say green frosting, chocolate frosting, miniature marshmallows, assorted eggs or jelly beans, oreo cookie crumbs..


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Broccoli with Parmesan Crumb Topping

Here is an easy way to prepare Broccoli that even the kids enjoy.  I mix Italian seasoned breadcrumbs with melted butter and grated Parmesan cheese and top on blanched broccoli and finish in the oven to get a golden brown color.

Broccoli with Parmesan Crumb Topping

Serves 6

Ingredients
1 bunch broccoli, washed and cut into smaller pieces
1 inch water
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. butter
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/4 cup seasoned Progresso bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese

Put the broccoli in a covered pot with an inch of water and seasoned with salt.  Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low, cover and steam for about 10 minutes until it is a nice dark green.
Drain the broccoli and transfer to a baking dish.  Melt the butter and combine with bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle over the broccoli.  Bake at 325-350 for 15 minutes until the crumb topping is golden brown and the cheese melts a little.  Enjoy.  If you wish sprinkle more freshly grated Parmesan cheese and sprinkle some lemon juice over the dish.

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Chicken Gnocchi Soup

I love Olive Garden’s Chicken Gnocchi Soup.  Every time I go to Olive Garden I end up ordering it now.  Their Gnocchi are so tender and the soup is so creamy and flavorful.  I went on a quest to find a good copy cat version and I did at Pioneer Woman’s Tasty Kitchen Forum.

Chicken Gnocchi Soup-adapted from Tasty Kitchen

  • 3 Chicken Breasts, Cooked And Diced
  • 4 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 2 Cups Heavy Cream
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Diced
  • 1 Carrot, Shredded
  • 1/2 Onion, Diced
  • 1 1/2 Cups Fresh Spinach, Chopped (I used 1/2 cup defrosted frozen chopped spinach)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Thyme
  • Salt And Pepper
  • 16 Ounces Potato Gnocchi
  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon, to enhance the taste at the end (optional and my addition)

Directions:

  1. Cook the onion, garlic, and carrot in oil over medium heat until onion is tender and translucent.
  2. Add the chopped chicken, chicken stock, heavy cream, salt and pepper, and thyme. Heat to boiling, then add gnocchi (homemade would be even better, but all I had was packaged on hand). Gently boil for 4 minutes, then reduce heat to simmer and continue cooking for 10 minutes.
  3. Add spinach and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes until spinach is wilted.  I did use defrosted frozen chopped spinach and only added about 1/2 cup to the soup as I did not have fresh spinach on hand.

Recipe Notes
Source:
http://thepioneerwoman.com/tasty-kitchen/recipes/soups/chicken-and-gnocchi-soup/
Added by Calamity Anne on July 31, 2009 in Creamy Soups, Soups
5.00 Mitt(s) | 3 Rating(s)

Prep Time 20 Minutes
Cook Time 20 Minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Servings 6

Becky’s notes:

I made this version and was very happy with the results. I did add a little bouillon at the end and used defrosted, chopped spinach instead of fresh and it turned out fine.  Will make again and again.  My children are not fans of gnocchi, but they don’t get much say in my house. They can eat it or not eat.

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